Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Nightwing #82 Micro-Review – Sister Act

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Nightwing 82, variant cover, 2021, Jamal CampbellTITLE: Nightwing #82
AUTHOR: Tom Taylor
ARTISTS: Bruno Redondo, Rick Leonardi, Neil Edwards, Andy Lanning (Inker), Scott Hanna (Inker), Adriano Lucas (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer). Variant cover by Jamal Campbell.
RELEASED: July 20, 2021

As we found out last issue, Dick Grayson has an apparent sister. Naturally, this issue follows up on that big reveal. Specifically, via flashback sequences, which they do a nice job of changing up the texture for.

This whole “hero has a surprise sibling” story has obviously been done before. But doing it with Dick might have something of a unique flavor. So I’m here for it. Who knows? Maybe it’ll even stick…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Teen Titans Academy #5 Micro-Review – Too Much Nightwing?

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Teen Titans Academy 5, cover, 2021, Rafa SandovalTITLE: Teen Titans Academy #5
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Steve Lieber, Dave Stewart (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer). Cover by Rafa Sandoval & Alejandro Sanchez.
RELEASED: July 27, 2021

This is the first issue of Teen Titans Academy I didn’t like. It sees the Bat Pack characters take center stage for the second consecutive issue. Granted, they’ve been part of the book since issue #1. But So have characters like Summer, Alinta, Brick, Gorilla Gregg, etc. I’d rather have spent time with them than a trio of Batman groupies.

Also, I’m starting to think this book is a little too Nightwing-heavy for me. And I say that as a Nightwing buff.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Nightwing #81 Micro-Review – A Big Reveal!

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Nightwing #81
AUTHOR: Tom Taylor
ARTISTS: Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer)
RELEASED: June 15, 2021

There’s a pretty big revelation regarding Dick Grayson’s family at the end of this issue. I won’t spoil it. But I’m certainly curious to see where Taylor goes with it…

Redondo and Lucas get a nice chance to show off here with a fight sequence between Nightwing and our villain Heartless. These guys are one of the best teams in all of comics right now, and they’re getting to prove it on Nightwing.

Also, Tim Drake is still hanging out. That’s a plus.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Weekly Comic 100s: Nightwing #79

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Nightwing #79
AUTHOR: Tom Taylor
ARTISTS: Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer)
RELEASED: April 27, 2021

We’re only a couple issues in, but I already have the sense that Tom Taylor really gets Dick Grayson. Taylor is placing a lot of emphasis on Dick’s generous spirit, and what he wants to do to impact Bludhaven beyond superheroics. That feels very true to the character. As such, his has the potential to be one of the best Nightwing runs we’ve seen in a long time.

It certainly helps that Redondo and Abbott are killing it on art, turning in work that’s just as good as what they gave us on Suicide Squad.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Weekly Comic 100s: Teen Titans Academy #2

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Teen Titans Academy #2
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona (Inker), Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer)
RELEASED: April 27, 2021

I rolled my eyes a couple of times during this issue. First at the on again/off again romance between Nightwing and Starfire, which is still a thing. Second, that our cliffhanger sees another superhero team butting into this book, and we’re only on  issue #2.

On the plus side? We get to know a young speedster named Bolt in this issue, who wears blades in place of her lower legs like Oscar Pistorious did. I like that juxtaposition. It catches you by surprise.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Weekly Comic 100s: Nightwing #78

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Nightwing #78
AUTHOR: Tom Taylor
ARTISTS: Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer)
RELEASED: March 16, 2021

In this issue Nightwing literally saves a puppy from a bunch of goons. A friggin’ puppy.

So obviously he’s becoming a villain, right?

All kidding aside, this is a great issue. The writing is supreme, and some of the visuals are fantastic (see the two-page spread of Nightwing diving across the cityscape). Adriano Lucas’ colors are gorgeous too. This team did great on Suicide Squad, and I’m confident they’ll do great here. The apparent addition of Barbara Gordon to the book’s cast certainly doesn’t hurt things either.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Weekly Comic 100s: Future State: Nightwing #2

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Future State: Nightwing #2
AUTHOR: Andrew Constant
ARTISTS: Nicola Scott, Ivan Plascencia (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer). Cover by Yasmine Putri.
RELEASED: February 16, 2021

I like the way this book uses media as an enemy. Nightwing is obviously the hero, but the Magistrate is using a television network to smear him, brand him as a terrorist, etc.

This is one of the better drawn books in the entire Future State line. I’m always happy to see Nicola Scott’s name in my weekly stack.

This is less a book about Dick Grayson, and more about what Dick inspires in other characters. Most notably loyalty. This book grants the Nightwing character the virtually universal respect of his peers. That’s a very natural direction to go.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Weekly Comic 100s: Future State: Nightwing #1

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Future State: Nightwing #1
AUTHOR: Andrew Constant
ARTISTS: Nicola Scott, Ivan Plascencia (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer). Cover by Yasmine Putri.
RELEASED: January 19, 2021

I was pleasantly surprised to see this issue tackle one of the elephants in the room: The relationship between Dick Grayson and the Future State Batman Timothy Fox. The issue doesn’t directly address why Fox, and not one of Bruce Wayne’s other protoges, didn’t take over as Batman. But at least we have two of them in the same room.

Nightwing’s base of operations is in the remains of Arkham Asylum, which I knew would happen with somebody at some point. It was just a matter of who. Arkham is just too fun a setting not to use.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Weekly Comic 100s: Future State: Teen Titans #1

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Future State: Teen Titans #1
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona (Inker), Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer)
RELEASED: January 12, 2021

The best part of this issue is the incorporation of the  Teen Titans Academy concept, which we’ll obviously see more of in the near future. But I didn’t follow the progression of Dick Grayson’s character through the issue. Ergo, when he has his big cliffhanger moment at the end, it was almost a complete miss. I understood it. It just didn’t land.

Future State also takes it upon itself to merge Cyborg and Beast Boy into one character: Cybeast. I can’t decide if that’s brilliant or stupid. Possibly both?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Best of Batman & Superman: The Cruise of a Lifetime

***It’s easy to put Batman and Superman against one another, as they’re so different. But those who truly understand them know that the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel are better together! “Best of Batman & Superman” celebrates their best moments as a team!***

TITLE: Superman #76
AUTHOR: Edmond Hamilton
ARTISTS: Curt Swan, John Fischetti (Inker). Cover by Win Mortimer.
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
ORIGINAL COVER PRICE: 10 cents
RELEASED: 1952

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Published in 1952, Superman #76 is generally considered to be the first “proper” meeting of Batman and Superman. Granted, they’d been appearing on comic book covers together since the 40s. They’d also appeared together with the Justice Society in the pages of All-Star Comics. Batman and Robin had also made guest appearances on The Adventures of Superman radio show. But often, when historians are asked, “When did Batman and Superman meet in the comics?”, they point to this issue.

Put on your writer/editor hat for a moment: You want to have Superman and Batman, the two biggest and most popular superheroes in the world, meet for the “first time.” Where and how does it happen? In Metropolis? Gotham City? During a battle against Lex Luthor? The Joker? How did they discover one another’s identities? Did Superman use his x-ray vision? Did Batman brilliantly deduce that Clark Kent is Superman? There are a litany of possibilities. So what did they go with…?

Superman and Batman met on a cruise ship.

That’s right, folks. They met and even discovered one another’s identities aboard a goddamn cruise ship. What’s more, in it’s own little way, it worked. It was kind of a genius move, actually.

Written by Edmond Hamilton and drawn by Curt Swan, “The Mightiest Team in the World” kicks off with Batman and Robin doing something unthinkable by today’s standards: Taking a vacation. As Dick Grayson prepares to visit relatives upstate, Bruce Wayne is about to take “a real vacation, on a coastal cruise! I’ll just relax and forget crime for a change!”

Clearly pre-Silver Age heroes knew how to balance business and pleasure, as Clark Kent is about to vacation on the same cruise. And wouldn’t you know it, he winds up sharing a room with Bruce Wayne!

Then, via the magical serendipity of fiction, a jewel thief blows up a nearby tanker truck and uses the diversion to make off with a shipment of diamonds. Naturally, our heroes are keen to jump into action. Feigning fatigue, Bruce kills the lights, prompting both men to do their superhero quick-change.

But low and behold, the light from the flames shines through the window, revealing Bruce Wayne to be Batman and Clark Kent as Superman!

I used to balk at what, in hindsight, is a pretty historic moment. But I’ve found the more years go by, the more I soften on it. As a 30-something adult, I’ve actually come to appreciate it quite a bit.

One of the cardinal sins of a Superman/Batman story, for my money, is making one hero look superior to the other. These two men should stand on equal footing. If you can’t manage that, then you shouldn’t be writing the two characters together.

With this issue, the revelation is pure happenstance. We don’t have Superman peeking under Batman’s cowl with his x-ray vision. Batman doesn’t concoct some conniving scheme to discover Clark’s secret. It’s simply fate that they discover one another’s identities by accident in a moment of heroism. In that sense, it’s kind of perfect…

What’s more, they don’t spend a lot of time digesting it or brooding over it. They recognize they still have work to do, and they get to it.

Obviously our villain is meant to be the jewel thief, who has stowed away on the cruise ship. But I’d argue another character is perhaps inadvertently placed in an opposing role: Lois Lane. After seeing Superman and Batman on board the ship, Lois comes aboard looking for the story. Our heroes now have to keep her at bay while searching for the jewel thief.

After giving Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne a sea-sickness alibi, our heroes try pawning Batman off on Lois. The idea is that if Superman pretends to be jealous, “she’d be too occupied for amateur detective work!” But Lois is on to them. She pretends to actually be enamored with the Caped Crusader, which in turn actually does make the Man of Steel jealous.

Considering some of the stories we’d later get in books like Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane, it’s not necessarily surprising to see them lean into a jealousy angle between Superman and Lois. But on the other hand, it’s nice to see Lois portrayed as a force to be reckoned with among the heroes. Batman may be the world’s greatest detective, but contrary to what Superman says here, Lois is hardly an amateur detective herself.

C’mon Superman. It’s not amateur detective work. It’s called investigative journalism.

One of the classic Superman/Batman tricks is having the two disguise as one another. Superman dresses as Batman, Batman dresses as Superman, etc. Tom King and Clay Mann put a nice spin on this trope in Batman not long ago. We see an early version of it here, as after our heroes inevitably catch the bad guy, Bruce Wayne masquerades as Clark Kent while standing next to Superman to throw Lois off the scent of Clark’s true identity.

She gets the last laugh, though. Lois does indeed get a date with a hero by the end of the issue: Robin. (“Isn’t he the cutest little chap?”) How’d they get in touch, as Dick is supposed to be upstate, and we’re long before the age of cell phones? Why, that’s not important…

“The Mightiest Team in the World” is filled to the brim with pre-Silver-Age charm. What’s more, it does right by its characters. Superman and Batman come out of it looking like the world’s finest heroes. Lois Lane stands out as a clever go-getter, and not simply a brainless damsel. Even Robin gets a date by the end. Truly a red letter issue for all parties.

A cruise ship. Who’da thunk it?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.